In a plenary lecture at the 18th International AIDS conference in Vienna, Austria, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., will present new insights on the early and complex pathogenic events that occur rapidly—within hours to days—following sexual exposure to HIV.

Dr. Fauci will discuss how the growing understanding of these events informs the development of new strategies for preventing HIV infection, such as topical microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis with antiretroviral drugs, and HIV vaccines, as well as the potential importance of early antiretroviral treatment in minimizing HIV disease and perhaps allowing for a cure in some patients.

Dr. Fauci will focus on recent data from his laboratory on the role of a cell surface molecule called α4β7 that, in certain forms, allows much more efficient binding of HIV to CD4+ T cells at the mucosal surface during sexual transmission of HIV. High expression of α4β7 defines a subset of CD4+ T cells that are highly susceptible to HIV infection. Dr. Fauci suggests that the interaction between the HIV envelope and the α4β7 receptor on CD4+ T cells should be considered as a target for vaccine against sexual transmission of HIV.

Dr. Fauci's lecture will be presented on Tuesday, July 20, at 8:55 a.m. (Vienna time), session room 1, Hall D, Reed Messe Wien Congress Center, Vienna.